Talks on South Sudan membership

2012-04-22 14:17

Arusha - The presidents of the East African Community's five member states will hold a summit on April 28 to discuss including newly-created South Sudan, a spokesperson said on Saturday.

Juba's membership in the EAC - which has a free trade area and a customs union - will be on the agenda of a summit at the organisation's headquarters in the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha.

"There are many issues on the agenda, among them this application by the Republic of South Sudan," Richard Othieno Owora, in charge of public affairs at the EAC, told AFP.

EAC states Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda held a summit in Bujumbura late last year during which they delayed their decision on a membership application by Sudan.

The application was made by Khartoum before South Sudan's independence in July 2011 but the rump state of Sudan no longer shares a border with the EAC.

Juba's independence came after a six-year peace process but several key issues were left unresolved and have now brought the two former civil war foes back to the brink of fully-fledged conflict.

South Sudan depends on the north to export its oil - which makes up the vast majority of the fledgling state's revenues - and is looking at alternative pipelines and trade routes to the south.

The EAC was initially founded in 1967 by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania but stopped functioning 10 years later. It was revived in 1999 and expanded to include Rwanda and Burundi.

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